SensitiveBeing: Reflection on Identity
Who are you?
It is an important question for your well-being. Perhaps take a moment to sit quietly and ponder this.
Perhaps you find yourself reeling off your life accomplishments, the work you do, your relationships to significant others, your education, your wealth…
Maybe you feel good about all this. It certainly helps for a while.
Or perhaps you find yourself listing failures, illnesses, diagnoses (borderline personality or schizophrenia are headliners), negative things you've done, your lack of relation to others, your poverty…
And maybe it doesn't feel so great. In fact, you might even feel suicidal at times.
May I suggest an alternative to consider?
That you are a sensitive human being. Sensitive not in the sense of weakness but of responsiveness to the life around you.
And on a deeper level what I'll call 'Sensitivity' being here.
Life itself showing up in human form with a mysterious potential for aliveness perhaps beyond your imagination.
This is not something to simply take from the words of another. Reflect on it and perhaps you will realise it for yourself as a simple, obvious truth. Too simple for our complicated minds or education processes.
In this realisation, we are all the same. There is no inflation of your status because you are a 'success'. No deflation because you are a 'failure'. That status is already secure in your fullness as a manifestation of life itself. You are already enough.
Advocates of the benefits of sport with a single winner may not at first approve here, but there is no conflict with striving to be a winner at life or avoiding being a loser here, whatever you decide this means for you.
It is simply that you run that race from the position of fullness, not needing the result to tell you who you are. You strive to win and put in the required effort because that is what your heart wants, to express your unique version of this 'Sensitivity' in life.
This realisation of our deeper identity proposes a life journey for us.
The sensitive human being that we are, has been sculpted by our experiences since birth both positive and traumatic forming physical and emotional patterns which may limit our capacity to be ourselves in fullness.
Likewise, the conceptual models we have formed of our world and ourselves while sometimes useful create structures that may also limit us from meeting our deeper Self.
The invitation then is to follow the path to recover our freedom to respond to the truth of the moment, to allow the fullness of this 'Sensitivity' to shine through. To become our deeper selves and touch the world from that place.
In one sense we are always 'Sensitivity' showing up. You can see it in others when you look with a quiet mind, more often when there are no words being said.
Beautiful moments are when two people catch each other's eyes and there is that quiet recognition of something sacred shared. This is who we are and we can rest in this content to just be.
But at the same time, we have to work at it. To follow the journey of becoming more fully ourselves.
Whether this takes the form of a dedicated spiritual practice, or a quiet maturing in the background of a busy life of family and work or a consuming therapeutic journey freeing oneself from early traumas or anxieties is irrelevant. It is all the same.
Life, sacred and precious in its own way following its pilgrimage across the sands.
What I hope for in these words is to convey something which once said seems simple and obvious. As human beings we are very good at missing the obvious. And we suffer for this.
The problem I seek to address here is a practical one. That if you identify as a mentally ill person, then that is the role you will act out in the world and how others will most likely see you and relate to you. The consequence of this acting out and then mirroring from others creates a rigid human pattern, a chronic mentally ill person.
The sensitive human being has been frozen into an unhealthy pattern from which the full vitality of life cannot shine. And this for me will prevent a successful movement towards recovery.
Recovery for me meaning resuming one's healthy self-identity, acting from this identity in the world and following the journey to become oneself more fully.
The paradox of the recovery journey is that if you start from a position of self-judgement, without a healthy self-identity (an egoic position), then you may strive for change, but all you create is a kind of war between two opposing parts of yourself often energising the difficulty even more than it was before. There is no recovery.
Whereas if you start from 'being there already', you have no problem in arriving! The journey may still take years, but it is okay as it has a good feeling to it. You are already full inside, so it almost doesn't matter whether it happens or not, but something within wants to complete it anyway.
This is similar to the concept of 'Being Mode' in modern Mindfulness, though I am expanding the scope of Mindfulness with this introduction of inquiry into the nature of the Self.
I have used the term 'Sensitivity' here for our deeper Self, in a way which I hope removes it from the religious domain but allows it to resonate within the personal spiritual domain most relevant to modern society. All anyone can do is point at it. Anything more specific would be dogmatic and a prejudice. I think this term functions both on a spiritual level and a practical level.
Each of us has to find our own feeling for what this is, through our own inner journey and research. It doesn't want to be too heady an exploration as this again creates a conceptual prejudice of oneself and others and takes you further away from realising it.
If nothing else, perhaps we can associate it with a sense of mystery, of having unknown potential, like looking into a deep pool of water. And give it the benefit of the doubt of being something positive and loving.
For myself, it is a warm relationship with something which is both myself and more than myself, something I feel. A reason for sitting in meditation or doing tai chi: to come home to oneself.
This healthy self-identity is like a bank account. Most people with loving attachments in childhood will have a reasonable balance, even without being conscious of anything I write here. Ultimately everyone can benefit from consciously realising their self-identity, but even so, they may maintain a good balance able to replenish itself and cope with life's ups and downs.
People experiencing mental health difficulties don't have the luxury of remaining unconscious, as their given balance isn't functional. Instead, they need to walk the path consciously, following some kind of embodied mindfulness-based work rooted in the realisations of self-identity I describe here and self-compassion.
What comes is a sense of relaxed fullness in the belly, openness and warmth in the heart, clarity, space and quiet presence in the head, breath filling and emptying the body and a feeling of standing on the ground fully occupying the space your body takes up.
It's worth the effort!
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Reflections on the 'here and now' from the perspective of non-ordinary experience.
One to One Online 'Mental Health' Wellness Coaching Sessions for Experiencers
These sessions can be in the form of a conversation or a Hara Conditioning teaching session or a combination of the two.
I am happy to consider sessions with anyone but am especially interested in supporting people with spiritual crisis, psychosis, trauma or anxiety issues.
First session 1 1/2 hours: £75, Further sessions £50/hour
HeartTouch: Mindfulness & Compassionate Touch Training for Anxiety, Emotional Pain & Trauma.
These workshops are open to people experiencing extreme human states, whether that be labelled as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar, manic depressive along with people with personal histories of sexual or emotional traumas.
They are also open to people experiencing milder forms of anxiety and emotional pain, however it expresses itself.
This can include co-issues such as addiction or eating disorders, though I would request people to find additional support for the side-issue as this is not part of my experience.
The workshops are also open to people interested in enhancing their capacity to work with people experiencing this kind of distress, whether as a bodyworker, psychotherapist, clinician or family member.